Whether you are looking for your first job, or looking to make a career change, job hunting is never easy or straight forward. Not only do you have to find the ultimate job of your dreams, you have to apply for it, get an interview and score the position. Some people say job hunting in itself is a full time job and I don’t blame them. To get it right takes time.


But it doesn’t just take time. It takes real savvy too, and a little bit of self awareness. Let’s get real here – if you are searching and applyin for your dream job, so are hundreds of other people, and it isn’t enough for you to just want it. You’ve got to be the best.

So are you job hunting? So is everyone else in the world. Here are some top tops to get you standing out from the crowd and in to that dream job.

Give your CV some sparkle

I haven’t actually had to use a CV for quite some years, largely because the world that I work in uses application forms in the main – I hate them, but there we are. However, CV’s are important to have because in some sectors they are the standard way of getting across your experience and skills, and because they give you a good place to start when applying for a job.

If you’ve not taken a look at yours in a while, dust it off and be honest. Is it really any good? Your CV is easy to get wrong, but it is also the easiest thing in the world to get right too. As a basic a rule a CV should contain the following elements:

  • A snappy personal statement that should be changed for each role you apply for
  • Your educational history (but keep it short – you don’t need to list every single GCSE you gained)
  • Your employment history – listing key responsibilities, achievements and skills
  • Relevent hobbies/interests and volunteering experience

Depending on your career, you may add a skills/competencies section (this is pretty common in IT, digital and engineering careers) any non educational qualifications gained (for example do you have a professional certificate/qualification) and you may want to replacement your employment history with a clients section if you work freelance.

Make sure the formatting is clear, the writing concise and you’ve checked over any spelling/grammar mistakes. Get a friend to help!

Stand out from the crowd

Now you’ve revamped your CV, are you worried it is a bit…lacklustre? Now is the time to consider things that will make you stand out from the crowd, as it is a tough marketplace out there. The first place to start is with any gaps in your CV which will hold you back from getting the job you want. How can you fill them? Can you take on extra responsibility at work, pitch some different ideas to clients or do some things in your spare time to add to your portfolio?

Here are some quick ideas –

  • Search for some opportunities where you can plug the skills gap. Volunteering doesn’t have to be low skilled – in fact you can volunteer to do pretty much anything! Ask your local volunteer centre or approach your favourite charity.
  • Start your own project – either on your own with some friends. That way you can get what you need and show you’ve got initiative and leadership skills too.
  • Show some innovation in your workplace. Have you had an awesome idea for a piece of work, a client or a different team? Pull your idea together into a proposal and pitch it! You might get to broaden your work load and get some awesome team brownie points to boot.

Get online and get social

Now we live in the digital age, social media and the internet can be really useful for showing yourself off to employers, even if you don’t have a digital career. Granted it can make you fall on your arse too, so be sensible. We’ve already covered how useful Linkedin can be for job hunting, so if you are not yet on there, crack on with it will you?

Other social media platforms can be helpful too. Twitter can allow you to follow and observe various other tweeters, hashtags and companies which can give you the know how for opportunities, but by engaging in useful conversations you’ll get a reputation for being brilliant and knowledgeable.

Don’t have a blog or online portfolio? Start one, or pitch post ideas to blogs and websites in your work area. As well as editing this site, I’ve got my own professional blog where I write about volunteering and the charity sector, and through that I’ve made many contacts and had some great career opportunities – so give it a go!

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